| Dear Friends,
Gosh...it has been so long!
It's already nearly halfway through the month but my friend Chris has inspired me to follow his suit and write about what 2006 has taught me. WARNING: This entry is going to be about me, me and me again...it probably contains nothing interesting to other people but hey, that's what blogs are for!
Now that I look back on it, 2006 was one of the most amazing years of my life...an official year of 'change' in which practically every part of my life had a complete overhaul. It all started on January 1 last year. I woke up at 4 am to the sounds of my parents hurriedly packing last minute things and yelling out to us kids to get up or we'll miss the plane! We had just spent our Christmas and New Years Eve in Port Vila, Vanuatu and were to leave around 7 am that morning for Australia. The past night had been fun – filled with laughter and merriment set against the backdrop of loud partying Ni-Vans celebrating the beginning of a new year. Us kids had been riding in the back of a truck throughout town, talking and playing hand games. Everyone was happy and cheerful.
(Me in Vanuatu playing handgames with Vanese...yes hand games...)
This changed the next day when we got up to go to the airport. We checked in, saw Bob Hawke (a former Prime Minister of Australia) and watched the planes from the viewing area. Our moods soon changed when we were finally called to board the plane. Our cousins, aunties, uncles and friends all lined up for hugs and there was not a dry eye anywhere. I have never cried so much in my life. I felt like I was leaving my home and my family and the place I belonged. I learnt my first lesson for 2006 on the first day of the year...Vanuatu is going to be in my future. I know it.
I can't remember if this happened before or after I went to Fiji, but I learnt I had been accepted into a Bachelor of E-Journalism at CQU in Rockhampton. I knew I would get accepted but somehow it was exciting getting that big white envelope in the post. If you had told me the year before that I would be staying in Rockhampton for the start of my university, I would have loudly rebutted it. But even though I could have gotten into the Uni I originally wanted (QUT in Brisbane) I had changed my mind just before Vanuatu when my Uncle had talked me out of it. Now I sincerely thank him for changing my mind. If I had gone to Brisbane, I am sure I wouldn't be in the same place I am today.
Fiji was next and I embarked on a short trip to this Pacific paradise during January still with my mum, nanny and sister Hayley. We were going to see Benny Hinn, a traveling evangelist who was going to be holding a large rally in Suva. Fiji was amazing. I had never been there before and thought it would be like Vanuatu or Samoa but it was completely different. I think it not only strengthened my love for the Pacific, but also my love of India. I adored the Indian culture that was on display and practically fell out of my bus seat in excitement when I spotted the large paintings of Aishwarya Rai, Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan on the front of the cinema. I learnt my second lesson (which I already knew anyway) during this trip. That I was totally head over heels in love with India ( surprise surprise!)
When I got home from Fiji, nothing had changed. I was bored and could not wait to start university. I finally got my drivers license after failing once (I left the handbrake on and stalled the car three times before even leaving the car park!) and got used to the new independence driving gave me. Finally March came around and a new chapter of my life began. I enjoyed orientation so much and couldn't understand why people were going on about how boring and irrelevant it was. When I first entered the CQU sports centre I was a bit scared but I had found an Indian (masquerading as a Canadian) named Mozzie who I had met the day before and we walked over together. Just as I got there I saw my good school friend Sophie and Chemistry classmate Sean and introduced them to Mozzie. We then went and saw more classmates and took a seat. During that time I began looking around me and sussing everyone out. My eyes kept coming back to this petite blonde girl with freckles and glasses and her friend who looked a bit out of place against the Australian landscape. I kept on thinking, gosh, that girl must be foreign because although she physically looked like an Australian, there was something about her mannerisms that told me she was from somewhere different.
(Miss Melissa...during one of the first times i met her..she is wearing Canadian colours and we are sitting in my beloved university library)
I later found out her name was Melissa and she was from Canada during an introduction session with the communication and journalism students. I also found out that the petite blonde girl was named Joan and shared a house with her boyfriend and Melissa. That's the last I saw of them that day. I learnt many lessons that day – don't ever set eyes on an engineering boy because they are only interested in one thing, don't run across "Magpie plain" because you will surely get attacked by magpies, and don't swim in the confested swamp thing outside the library, because many people are sure it is a breeding ground for strange and dangerous creatures.
I have to write this incident that Chris also wrote in his blog. I remember after lunch on the first day of Orientation all the media and communication students had got together for the second part of the orientation. But we were waiting for one person. A guy named Chris. Finally we decided to just continue on without him and then just as we left the building there he was, sitting down outside listening to music!! I thought it was really funny at the time. I saw Chris a lot that day and I sincerely thought he had a crush on a pretty blonde girl named Ana who I had met several times through my friend Elizabeth. How would I know that he would become such a great friend in the near future??
(Chris on the floor of my beloved University library)
Fast forward a few weeks (because there are too many incidents to write about) and I found myself extremely good friends with the Canadian girl Melissa and an absolutely gorgeous Chinese girl named Antonia. One morning after one of our marathon four hour block of classes I made the suggestion that Melissa, Antonia and I go out for lunch somewhere. The trouble was, we just kept on talking. I'm sure we didn't leave class until an hour that day. Anyway, as I was talking I noticed the boy called Chris come up to us and start talking. I hadn't really talked to Chris until a day in the library when I had been working on an assignment and he had come up to me and talked to me. I was a bit surprised that he came up to me because it was kind of random but I thought it was cool. So I decided to invite Chris along to lunch as well.
(The first ever meeting of the AESM...taken with a grainy mobile phone camera by one of my library co workers.)
We went to McDonalds and I had one of the best times of my life. This was due in part to the great company and also because the Alien Ethnic Society and Melissa was formed – a catastrophic group of personalities hailing from a variety of different countries. We had everything: A Chinese/French girl, a Eurasian boy, a Canadian girl named Ghandi and me.
We had many adventures since then but my favourite was when we filmed "A Flat to Myself" described as "our debut, independant, trendy, arthouse, independant, indie, alternative, ARTHOUSE film" in which Antonia comes out of a fridge and drinks poisoned lemonade given to her by Chris. The film spurned a sequel aptly titled "A Flat to Myself 2" and a documentary in which two filmmakers who look scarily like the stars of the film re-enact the cult classic.
But during the fun filled days in which all founding members of the AESM resided in Rockhampton – for which I will call the "Golden Age" – I received great news. I had been offered a cadetship at an influential and respected Indigenous newspaper. Before I knew it, I was being whisked away to Canberra for an "interview" and after I had completed all my exams and assignments I decided to take up the offer. I gave up my beloved University library job and scholarship and moved out from home. By July my life had changed so drastically and so suddenly that I couldn't get my head around it. In some ways it was like a Bollywood film – it switched genres halfway through and went from being a carefree comedy to a more serious drama.
While in Canberra I moved houses 4 times during 5 months. So I had many adventures and met many new people. But it's fair to say my favourite was a girl named Arika who became my flat mate. The circumstances of our meeting was weird and our friendship remains a little weird but we are comfortable in our weirdness! I haven't gotten sick of her yet and I hope to stay friends with her and her mum Tjanara forever!
I'm getting sick of writing now so I'm going to skip Canberra and fast forward to now.
I have been at home on holidays for about 4 weeks now. I have eight days til I go back. It's weird because I have met so made so many new friends already – the most notable of which is my friend Ram who has one of the best personalities I've ever seen. But I've also had many new adventures with Melissa, Chris, Kate, Joan, my school mates and my favourite little boys of all…Hamish and Jacob.
I couldn't believe it yesterday - a new friend, Manish asked me if they were my sons. I almost laughed out loud. If they were my sons, I would have been ten when I fell pregnant with them. Completely and utterly weird.
Also...a special mention to Kate...who made up "That's Tops". I'm sorry for invoking intellectual copyright so here i officially declare "That's Tops" the work of Kate's mind!
But anyway – that's my "2006" entry. 2007 here I come!